02/09/2009 08:58 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Parents In Space. The Crew Of Space Shuttle Discovery

If you're a parent who has to travel for work, it can be hard to leave your family behind. So does this mean that certain jobs are off-limits to parents? Do we owe it to our kids to stay safe and leave the risky jobs to those people with fewer responsibilities?

The astronauts on board the space shuttle Discovery, which is currently on a thirteen day space mission, certainly don't think so, since all seven of them are parents.

The New York Times reports that the crew have 20 children between them, with ages ranging from 6 to 26.

There's only one mum amongst the space crew - Nicole Stott, who has a seven year old son.

Stott, 46, is the first American woman to live at the international space station for three months with a young child at home. Her husband, Chris, will care for their son while Nicole's away, as he has done throughout her overseas training.

Stott told the NYT: "I can honestly say I would not be doing this if I didn't think it was to help improve life here on Earth for him [her son] and make things better for the future for him and other kids as well."

Other astronauts say they also look to their children for inspiration:

Astronaut Danny Olivas, 43, has five children ages 6 to 14, and says: "'The whole notion of exploring and space is what we, as human beings, can fundamentally do to nurture our children's sense of awe and pushing their own envelopes."

And Jose Hernandez, 47, also a father of five, hopes his experience will inspire children. Having grown up in a Mexican migrant family and used education to overcome poverty, Hernandez told the Associated Press he wants kids to think, ''Hey, you know, if he did it, why can't I do it?''

Adding to the Discovery family, pilot Kevin Ford has two children in their 20's; Commander Rick Sturckow has two young children; Patrick Forrester has two sons in their 20s; and Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang has three children.

Source [ParentDish US]

What do you think? Do you leave your kids behind to travel with work? Would you like to be a parent in space?